Emerging: From Behind the Studio Door #15

Week 15

Over the past few years, some of the work I have created involved using a shaped support. For my purposes, lauan, a quarter inch plywood with a birch veneer, has worked pretty well. It’s durable, relatively easy to cut, not too heavy, and doesn’t take up a lot of storage. However, the piece I am creating for the Emerging Artist Grant is going to involve a lot of shaped pieces that will need to be integrated into a whole. Luaun would end up being too cumbersome to manage so I have been casting about for another solution. I found it with gatorboard.

Wow, I wish I had come across this product earlier! Similar to foamcore, gatorboard has an extremely dense styrofoam core sandwiched between two ultra thin layers of wood. The wood has been embedded with a resin to strengthen and waterproof it. Extremely light weight (it is all of 3/16” thick), the board doesn’t warp easily (it can be easily reinforced with a cradle) and it takes to all kinds of surface work. To top it off, it cuts like butter, and the styrofoam doesn’t break up in pellets that fly all over the place. I can see myself going a bit crazy with a jigsaw cutting this stuff, it is so easy.

As we all know, having the right materials can make all the difference. In this case, gatorboard is answering all my concerns for this project. It has excellent support stability, a receptive surface for my technique of choice and, with its light weight, I can manage larger pieces with ease. The biggest challenge will be attaching the pieces to each other in a way that holds together for displaying, but can be separated easily for storage. I have a few ideas for that which I’m experimenting with now. 

At this point, I feel I have found a support that will be appropriate to use for several future projects that I have in mind. It opens up possibilities – and that’s a good feeling.

Thanks for reading!


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